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2019 opens the door to some fantastic new ministry opportunities with SU, where you can use your diverse skills, passions and experiences to share the good news of Jesus with children and young people. Alongside the time-tested summer Holiday Missions, Holiday Camps (there is a camp and role to suit everyone, every school holidays) and School Camps (term one is jam packed!), also, there is ONE NEW way you can use your gifts for the Gospel with SU.

Soon to launch is a NEW digital arts ministry for schools, making short films of people’s stories about their walk with God. These films will screen in schools and provide opportunity for small group discussions. So far, we have filmed half a dozen stories and hope to finish a pilot episode soon. Bonnie has done a great job getting things started, but needs some help. Are you a film person or just love playing around with video? We would love to have a group of people who can volunteer to edit one (or more) short films, to form a team working with Bonnie in this exciting NEW ministry venture. If this is you, contact us now & say ‘Bonnie, I’m in’. bonnie.hughes@suwa.org.au

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“They said it was one of the best weeks of their life!”

This is what I have heard from many, many parents of children and young people who experienced a summer SU camp or mission – usually followed by a comment about the fun their child had and the growth in their child’s faith in Jesus. I think this is what Jesus meant when He said “I have come that you might have life and life to the full” – immense fun, hearing about and meeting Jesus and a week to remember. Young people are finding life in Jesus through SU. So good! Thank you for your time, energy, commitment, financial support and prayer that makes it all happen.

The year ahead will be a really interesting one for our movement. New ministries Reel Change (digital storytelling in schools), Journey Youth Ministry Support (training and development for youth pastors/leaders), School Student Ministry, VetaChurch (discipleship course) and Make a Difference (MAD) Workshops will all start in the first half of the year and I really believe that God is using us to reach young West Aussies with the Good News of Jesus. There will be continual efforts to build the financial sustainability of the movement, changes to volunteer orientation and the ongoing discussion about and journey towards a national SU. I’d love you to join me in praying for all of it.

Praying that you have a deep experience of God’s grace in Jesus this year.

Kent Morgan

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Growing up in a home of somewhat cynical/anti-religious stock, I’ve always been wary of those crazy Christian folk and any agenda they might have. Especially the ones in caravan parks in summer!

Evangelism in this culture is HARD. There are so many social barriers! Being honest, my initial thoughts of joining mission were probably more to wrangle a family holiday with some purpose and intentionality, (not much of a restful holiday, for the record).

However, my underlying hope was to find a meaningful way to connect in a thoroughly Australian context. To genuinely live out mission/evangelism/outreach in this unique cultural moment and setting. So, I was very privileged to experience a taste of that this year.

On the second day of mission, we ran our first nature story walk; a chance to walk children through the stories of Jesus, in his creation. It was great! During this activity, we made a connection with a mother and her two children.

The following morning, we ran a coffee cart – a great time of milling around and meeting fellow campers. It was during the coffee time that I was able to follow up from the story walk connection and began chatting to the mother. I was blown away by the warmth and honesty of the conversation as it quickly moved to deeper things.

She was interested in how we were living (homeschooling our kids, part of a small homechurch and living in an open home context with different people coming and going over the past five years). The beautiful thing about all of that is I literally have no reason for doing any of it, other than the calling of Jesus.

1 Peter 3:15: Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

So, I got to tell her! Moreover, the questions kept coming: Why did you become a Christian as an adult? What convinced you? One of the few perks of growing up in an unbelieving home, especially a cynical one, is that you have to have some pretty solid reasons for changing your worldview, and lots of folk seem intrigued by that!

You’d be aware that ‘conversion’ often doesn’t happen in one conversation. However, I am hopeful seeds of life were planted. It was a wonderful joy to see God use the exhausting craziness of beach mission to build genuine connection and to have an opportunity to testify to the hope that I have.

Jaye Van Wollingen

Perfect Recipe for Human Happiness
Q&A with Naomi Pritchard; Naomi and family went on their first ever Flinders Family Festival recently and came back a-buzz.

  1. What propelled you to join the family festival team? I’m always up for a bit of adventure, and with Barb in the lead team I was confident she would run a great trip. I just felt like this was something I had to do, though I had no idea how to make it happen when I signed up (getting the right camping gear, organising, getting annual leave, admin forms and courses, pet care, camping with a family of 5, the list of excuses was endless!). I just felt I had to say yes and then give it to God. In the lead up I just kept giving it to Him to clear the road blocks and if it was something He meant for us to do, He would make it happen.
  2. Did you learn something new about yourself/being with other Christians/God?
  3. My husband just keeps thanking me for pushing us to have a go, as crazy as it sounded from the outset and as fullon as it was during. It was just the right mix of chaos and order – turns out that this fine balance is well documented as being a perfect recipe for human happiness. We felt challenged, out of our comfort zones, connected, supported and immersed in God’s work. So what did I learn? That I can be filthy dirty and yet so beautifully cleansed.
  4. What’s a highlight your family will remember? I think my bright pink towel will go down in Flinders camp history and is the illustration of a big lesson I needed to learn. I offered to do a group wash as I just had a small amount of things that needed cleaning. Didn’t think twice and just threw a pile of things in… turns out someone had a red singlet in there and it turned the whole wash, including a white towel of mine, a lovely shade of pink! OOOPS! But I learned:
    A. It’s just stuff, there are much more important things in life.
    B. Mistakes happen when you’re tired.
    C. I tend to help and give to the point of ridiculousness! Living in this intense environment is a fantastic way of identifying such personality traits. The personal growth that came out of this whole adventure will stay with me forever. Yes, I now treasure that pink towel and the bonds that were formed making it!
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This summer, Paul (Community Mission Coordinator) and Sheryl (his long-suffering wife), visited missions from Bremer to Jurien (+ Cheynes, Denmark, Augusta, Brookton & Cervantes between).

Altogether over 320 volunteers of all ages were involved in ministering to campers, holiday makers and town residents. All praise goes to the various cooks and Master Chefs in-the-making who cooked on equipment varying from gas burners and tiny chalet kitchens to full-blown shire hall modern kitchen facilities.

The Jurien Bay team trialled a new format this year with the children’s drama and bible activities being held in Dobbyn Park directly after their amazing beach games nearby. Their Minecraft theme was a huge hit with the kids – Sheryl witnessed an all out “war” on the beach with the children and mission team with wet sponges and lots of fun.

When the kids’ activities & café at Turner Caravan Park (Augusta) required a new location, a site on the edge of the river proved a great success with lounges to sit on and great fun and gospel moments shared with dozens of excited children & their parents.

Team members are taking a well-earned rest now as they recover some sleep and replenish their energy, ready for the year ahead.

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The summer camping season was highlighted by sunshine, storms and super times. Here’s what campers had to say:

“I’m going to follow Jesus, get baptised, put my Bible under my pillow”

“One action I’ll take: talk to God more”

“I’m going to follow Jesus, get baptised, respect my elders”

“I’m going to use less electronics because it’s too much fun without them”

“I’m going to take more friends to youth group”

“I saw we need to let go as He sees the bigger picture of our life”

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SU holds two annual leadership development camps aimed at building character and integrity in our up-and-coming leaders – from both SU and the local church – as they grow in love and fear of God. 30-plus participants gain practical skills and experience, a network of like-minded peers, an experience of temporary Christian community done well and a greater understanding of, and commitment to, church ministry.

Through an examination of Paul’s life and engagement in Biblical teaching and discussion, participants learn how Christian leadership differs from worldly leadership. EDAC’s Ministry Director, Kyran Holmes, will facilitate these sessions. There are also heaps of experiential learning opportunities including, for the first time, the facilitation of an ‘Adventure in Leadership’ Day for local Cornerstone Christian College students.

Highlights from recent LEAD Camps have been encouraging. We’ve had baptisms, a community of peers who stay in touch throughout the year and incredible positive individual growth. Interesting topics are discussed and critical thinking encouraged. Our Interns have flourished in large part due to LEAD Camps, as have this year’s Fieldworkers and many others. Participants and their sending churches have really valued the input and experience and we’re so thankful to God that He has chosen to work through these camps.

This year we aim to add a LEAD network & regular meetings between camps to really journey alongside our young people. Thank you for your prayer and please keep it coming.

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In Acts, we see the beginnings of Jesus’ Kingdom movement that spread through Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. In Acts 11:19, we see a particular moment where the gospel is taken to the Greeks in Antioch. This was a group of ordinary followers who had been scattered by persecution, who responded to a need they observed and took the gospel of Jesus to a new group of people. It wasn’t a leader-driven initiative, but a responsive movement which was then encouraged, supported and equipped by the leadership.

What a great picture of a Jesus movement and what we dream of for SU – a movement where people see new ministry opportunities and are supported and equipped by the staff to develop them. Summer is a great expression of that. Hundreds of Christian people share life and faith in caravan parks, country towns and with children, young people and families. I love seeing fresh new ministry happen as we share the good news of Jesus in relevant and personal ways.

This year there has been discussion among the state SU movements about the possibility of forming a national movement, driven by a deep desire to see greater effectiveness in mission by simplifying governance to maximise ministry. There is a national project group to guide the process and we had some WA consultation opportunities in October. I’d love you to be praying for the process and outcome and if you want to chat about it, get in touch.

Thanks for being part of SU and for your partnership in the gospel.

Kent Morgan, State Director
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Camp made a huge impact on me when I first went at 15. I didn’t have any Christian friends my age… I wasn’t even sure if there were any other Christian teenagers in Perth! I viewed camp as the first week of my year, the week that charged me up to persevere as a Christian for the rest of the year. Those friendships were a great encouragement for the rest of my life and around my non-Christian friends at school.

On camp I loved learning about God’s graciousness to us in sending his Son. All I need to do is repent and believe in Him. Each year a camp community grew over the week, and my favourite part was always the small group discussions where we had time to chat about life’s big issues.

The first camp I ever went on (formerly Windsurfing Camp), I was so nervous I was actually crying as I got on the bus. But after I arrived it took no time at all for me to feel comfortable. I returned every year, and now I’ve notched up around 10 years as a leader.

My closest friends on camp for the last two years of being a camper were actually the leaders; I looked up to them and thought ,“They’re so cool, I want to be like that.” I was really excited to be a leader – they were cool, relatable, normal people who were fun and worshipped God and could have proper conversations. I didn’t have any friends in my normal life who were Christians who I could have deep conversations with.

I became a leader because it felt like a natural progression – if you had come to camp for a few years and had accepted Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, you would join the leadership team. In my first couple of years leading, everything was very new to me, including learning how to be an adult in general. I was only given a few responsibilities and paired with an older leader to run small group discussions. That was really great as I had lots to learn and was quite nervous.

Over the years I have gradually taken on more responsibilities. I’ve found that being a camp leader complements the other leading I do at church, and my responsibilities at work too. All the experiences work together to grow life skills, each role improving the other.

In Acts, Paul constantly takes a sidekick along with him on his missions, to teach them how ministry is done. That person is then equipped to have a trainee of their own. Even though SU camps only last for one week a year, they are a great opportunity for the campers to first of all hear about Jesus, and then to go on to become leaders. We had 7 new leaders from Beach camp attend SU Lead program this year, and be trained in what it means to be a Christian leader. Now they get to come on camp to put what they’ve learned into practice.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how God will work through them to share his Word to campers who attend Beach camp in January 2019!

Kat Ollis
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Summer is a time when many of our friends & neighbours take time out from their lives and jobs to reconnect with family and friends. Our family celebrated Christmas and New Year in Augusta each year and there encountered an amazing group of people whose only purpose at our caravan park seemed to be to bless and encourage us.

Our summer mission team in Denmark has the advantage of a lovely steep slope of grass. This year, I sat down on the lawn with a group of families who were delighting in the joy of their children’s fun as they raced down the slopes on a ‘slippery slide’ the team had set up. In this relaxing atmosphere, I and many of the team members were able to sit with them and share the message that brought the team there. A message of joy in the midst of pain, of encouragement when hope was fading and to point them to the one who sustains and directs our lives. Did any of them really capture the spirit of our message? Only our Father knows; but we were grateful to be able to plant the seed.

Paul Edwards
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We always love having families attend SU activities. It can be a rich experience for the parents, children, and the participants who see a variety of ages live in Christian community together. Coming from a longterm SU family, and a participant herself as a teenager, Nicole Kingwell has recently been on SU camps with her husband and three young children. Here, she shares her experience of leading on camp as a family, ministering to campers together and enjoying the role they can all play

“We loved doing SU camps all through our teen years – Cam (husband) and I led, and team-led, on lots of camps… And then we had lots of children! We were hoping at some point we could get back into leading camps, even with kids on board. As it turned out, we actually had no worries taking our kids with us.”

“For all of us, right down to the littlest (6 years old) the God-focus of being on camp and the Christian community they were exposed to was just excellent. My 7yr old boy reminisces so much about camp; how nice people were to each other, how great it was being in that community.”

“And it’s special for kids from broken families to see happy and whole families. A girl from a broken family on one camp showed me this – it really struck me how much she wanted to be around us. She couldn’t relate well to her own age group, but it was evident that seeing a loving, caring family was something she really liked and was missing in her life.”

“If you see that family can be a positive experience, your grounding can start from a positive place. And if we can offer some element of that to those kids post-camp in reunions and catch-ups that’s even more valuable.”

Our SU Camps and Missions absolutely love to have families minister with the team. If your family are up for the adventure, contact the office.

Nicole Kingwell
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